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Pascal's Wager?

What are your thoughts on Pascal's wager? I'd like to hear from God believers and non-belivers on this one.


Asked by cleanaturalady at 7:42 AM on Oct. 9, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (31)
  • My thoughts: that if you are ONLY believing something to cover your ass, do you truly believe it? I don't necessarily think that belief is a choice. I could decide it was to my benefit to believe the earth was flat and pay lip service to that idea, but would I REALLY believe it?

    My corollary to Pascal's wager would be 'If there is a deity akin to the Christian God, and you have professed belief in him as an 'insurance policy' to avoid hell, do you not think he can discern true belief from self-serving hypocrisy?

    Answer by Freela at 7:55 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • I don't think it holds water. Like Freela said, if you are believing "just in case" I'm pretty sure your god can see through that.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 8:22 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • Well, I could also spend my life chasing rainbows looking for the pot of gold but I would rather live my life for myself instead of wasting it on fruitless endeavors.


    Answer by beeky at 8:23 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • Hm, interesting. My take is this.....people should do the right thing because it's the right thing to do without regard to it pleasing a deity that commands it.  I agree that if someone believes just to cover their ass, surely an all-knowing deity would see this and realize that there was no true belief.

    I do not think that any spiritual deity ever said to do the right thing simply to avoid repercussion.  I fully believe that the big picture, the whole reason deities ever said to do things like have compassion, be kind to one another, help each other, forgive, love, don't judge, be generous - all these things and more - because they're the right thing to do.  Doing them for merit is selfish motivation and can really negate the action.


    Answer by DestMasters at 8:31 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • I must say that if your god is omniscient then he will know what you truly believe, as well as what your motives are for believing or pretending to believe.

    If you are honestly claiming to be a believer just to cover your ass, then you are 'bearing false witness' as well....


    Answer by nobakecheezcake at 8:34 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • Faith must be a choice of free will. A choice based in fear is not free will, it is coerced. It doesn't matter if the source is internal or external, there is no difference between the man who "believes"because he's afraid of hell or the man who converts because a soldier will continue to rape his wife until he does.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:58 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • I am of the same opinion as you all are. I am a Christian because I believe in my heart that God is real, not in my head. I think that is the difference. Jesus says in several places that we have to believe in our heart. Sometimes my head will say 'how is that possible' but it is my faith and my heartfelt belief that keeps me going. I also believe that God sees our hearts. He is the one who gave us free will, if he had wanted everyone to believe, just in case, he would not have given us all the free will to believe of disbelieve.


    Answer by cleanaturalady at 9:29 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • *or not of

    Answer by cleanaturalady at 9:30 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • It's funny. I was looking over my PoR notes from this week wondering how to pare some of it down for a question this week. It's the same subject but an entire chapter on faith vs reason never once brought up Pascal. It was entirely Aquinas and James. Gonna rethink my question now...

    Answer by NotPanicking at 9:45 AM on Oct. 9, 2009

  • I think its interesting.

    But, I think if you dont or cant truly believe in something why pretend? Not something I could do because my heart and head would be screaming at me the whole time and waves of guilt about denying my true feelings would be overwhelming.

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 11:01 AM on Oct. 9, 2009